Here are news and opinion stories educators, advocates, policy wonks and makers are talking about today:

Future of STEM Education in Doubt
In an ongoing effort to promote STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – education, Ivanka Trump helped read “Rosie Revere Engineer” to a group of young girls at the National Museum of American History last week. Alongside Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, she emphasized the themes of resilience and confidence seen in the story. (Real Clear Education)

Japan Might Be What Equality in Education Looks Like
KAWAMATA, Japan—In many countries, the United States included, students’ economic backgrounds often determine the quality of the education they receive. Richer students tend to go to schools funded by high property taxes, with top-notch facilities and staff that help them succeed. In districts where poorer students live, students often get shoddy facilities, out-of-date textbooks, and fewer guidance counselors. Not in Japan (The Atlantic)

Why Kids Can’t Write
On a bright July morning in a windowless conference room in a Manhattan bookstore, several dozen elementary school teachers were learning how to create worksheets that would help children learn to write. Judith C. Hochman, founder of an organization called the Writing Revolution, displayed examples of student work. A first grader had produced the following phrase: “Plants need water it need sun to” — that is, plants need water and sun, too. If the student didn’t learn how to correct pronoun disagreement and missing conjunctions, by high school he could be writing phrases like this one: “Well Machines are good but they take people jobs like if they don’t know how to use it they get fired.” That was a real submission on the essay section of the ACT. (The New York Times)

Betsy DeVos Approves Delaware’s ESSA Plan, After Blowback
After some serious drama, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Tuesday gave Delaware the green light for its Every Student Succeeds Act plan. You read that right. Delaware, aka the state whose Feedback Shook the World, is the first state to get the all-clear to proceed on ESSA. (Education Week)

Backing the Wrong Horse: The Story of One State’s Ambitious But Disheartening Foray Into Performance Pay
Backing the Wrong Horse: The Story of One State’s Ambitious But Disheartening Foray Into Performance Pay is part of the tenth annual publication in the State Teacher Policy Yearbook report series. This study shows how 16 out of a sample of 18 Florida districts are continuing to pay higher salary awards to teachers who earn graduate degrees than teachers whose performance stands out, despite a 2011 Florida law which mandates that Florida school districts provide the highest salary awards available to teachers who are rated “Highly Effective”. (NCTQ)

Baltimore school system projects future deficits, plans to increase student recruitment
Baltimore public school officials are projecting future deficits as large as $30 million a year by 2020, but they are intensifying efforts to recruit and retain more students to avoid losing state funding. In a “Financial Recovery Plan” submitted Tuesday to state lawmakers, school district administrators laid out plans to improve the system’s financial standing even as student enrollment steadily declines. Baltimore’s schools have lost funding in recent years in part due to a state formula that awards more money to systems with more students. (The Baltimore Sun)

New Jersey
N.J. education chief deems Newark schools ready for local control
NEWARK — The state Education Commissioner has signaled to the Newark school district it’s finally ready to take full control of its schools. The move is a pivotal step toward giving the Newark School Advisory Board the power to hire and fire its own schools chief. In a letter to the district on Tuesday, Commissioner Kimberley Harrington said she was recommending the state Board of Education return local control after a performance review showed significant progress. (NJ Advance Media)

New York
When Charter Schools Open, Neighboring Schools Get Better: A New Study Finds 7 Reasons Why
Few education policy battles have burned as hot as debate over the practice of requiring traditional public schools to share under-used space with charter schools. Co-location, as the practice is called, is often cited as damaging to students in mainline district schools. But groundbreaking new research from Temple University assistant professor Sarah Cordes finds that at least in New York City, the arrival of a charter school has a positive effect on students in the traditional school already located in the building. (The 74)

Mimi Woldeyohannes is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at 50CAN. She lives in Maryland.


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